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Friday, December 14, 2018

“Neighborhoods Grapple With Re-Development” Updates

“Neighborhoods Grapple With Re-Development” was published in the December Hyde Park Living.  The following is a timeline of key developments related to the issue.  Updates will be added as they happen.

Spring, 2018

- 1228 Grace Avenue home is sold to Angelo Pusateri.

- After trees on the property were demolished, neighborhood residents concerned the house also would be demolished approached the Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park councils, as well as Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

- Angelo says he applied on May 17 for a lot split of the property and received a  response dated that same day from James Weaver, AICP, Senior City Planner.

- May 18, the City Planning Commission unanimously voted to begin a 100 day review process for all subdivision requests in Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout.  They also voted unanimously to recommend an Emergency 90-day IDC [Interim Development Control] which would include a review of ALL demo permits in Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout.

-  By midnight, May 19, the demolition permit became activated; by noon, the house was gone.

- May 30, Karen Robertson and the neighborhood groups spoke at the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee meeting.  The committee, chaired by Amy Murray, unanimously passed the recommendation of an Emergency 90-day IDC. 

Summer, 2018

- June 6, City Council unanimously voted to pass an Emergency 90-day IDC, a temporary measure which would not stop demolition or lot split activity; only add an additional level of review - City Planning Commission approval - to the process.

- During the 90-day IDC, the Department of City Planning was tasked with the formation of a Neighborhood Conservation Overlay district.  To assist in this study, City Council created a Subdivision and Zoning Working Group - visit for details.

- June 15, Planning Commission hearings for specifically addressing subdivision requests for properties on Grace Avenue and Grandin Road/Athens were held - both were denied.  Later, Angelo Pusateri resubmitted a revised subdivision request for Grandin Road/Athens approved by the Planning Commission.

- July 6, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend up to a nine month extension for the 90-day IDC. 

- Throughout the summer the Subdivision and Zoning Working Group, with participation and input from community members, met regularly.  Visit for details on their activity.

- July 24, a public meeting organized by the working group was held at the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church to discuss recommendations developed to date addressing demolition and lot split issues in Mt. Lookout and Hyde Park. Community members were encouraged to attend and actively participate.  Speakers included Katherine Keough-Jurs, director of the Planning Commission; T.J. Ackermann, a member of the working group representing a large developer; Dan Prevost, a member of the working group and Mt. Lookout Community Council President; and Laura Whitman, Director at Large. In addition, Jared Ellis of the Planning Commission staff gave a power point presentation explaining the  short- and long-term goals for the working group.

- August 17, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend changing the nine month extension for the IDC to a three month extension. It also voted to extend the subdivision regulations for Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout, set to expire on August  24, to expire on December 31 - giving the Planning Commission additional time to finish rewriting the City's subdivision regulations.

- August 27, a meeting was held regarding the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout IDC.  Mark Quarry, a member of the working group and a staff member of the Board of Realtors, planned the meeting for all realtors at the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors. The Planning Commission staff gave a presentation about the IDC and answered questions

Fall, 2018

- September 5, a public hearing took place with the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee concerning the working groups’ recommendations. It then voted unanimously for the IDC extension and the working group’s recommendations.

- September 6, City Council unanimously approved the IDC extension.  However, the Neighborhood Conservation District ordinance was removed from the agenda by the Mayor and, as a result, was not voted on. Due to City Council's vote, the demolition permit process reverted to what it was prior to June 6. Mayor Cranley directed the working group to continue with further discussions regarding the NCD, reportedly expressing that his major concern is with lot splits.  The working group was directed to review projects currently in progress and to give City Council feedback on these projects.

- September 13, the working group met to start developing a revised strategy focusing on updating City-wide subdivision regulations.  Hyde Park Neighborhood Council reportedly expressed concerns about establishing such regulations without input from the other 50 communities; also reportedly, the Council said this was not their intended responsibility set forth by the Zoning Committee.  Planning staff requested the working group move forward on this task.  The working group also began to establish a new streamlined application process for subdividing property combining the demolition request and the subdivision request process.  This would guarantee developers the certainty they want before committing any money into a future project.

- September 14, in a meeting with Mayor Cranley the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout Community Councils discussed his removal of the Neighborhood Conservation District from the Council’s agenda.  The Mayor reportedly told the councils his main interest is with lot splits and that he wants to see more stringent subdivision regulations.  The councils raised concerns about the premature removal of the demolition review process for Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout, as well as concerns regarding the size and scale of new houses on vacant land and replacement houses in these neighborhoods.  Their stated goal is to ensure the scale of new construction blends with the scale of the current neighborhood. They recommended the Mayor establish an emergency ordinance reinstating the IDC to its June 6 state, until the updated subdivision regulations are passed. By doing this, the communities will continue to be protected against unwanted reckless demolitions.  The Mayor requested his Director of Legislative Affairs, Rahiel Michael, to work with the City Manager on this.

- September 20, it was announced at a meeting of the working group the Planning Commission received an emergency ordinance concerning demolition reviews for Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout.  They were to vote on it at the September 21 Planning Commission meeting and recommend it on to the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee.  The ordinance restored demolition reviews in HP/ML for as long as the IDC is in place - til December 6.  If passed, City Council would vote for final approval on October 3.  The realtor and developers who are members of the working group reportedly said they did not oppose the ordinance.

- September 21, the Planning Commission voted to recommend demolition reviews be reinstated. A mailer was to be sent to all Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout residents to notify them of this action.  This item was to be on the agenda of the Economic Growth and Zoning Committee on October 30.  If passed, it would be voted on by City Council the following day. 

- October 30, City Council voted unanimously to amend the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout IDC to include the following:  the review of permits for demolition and the review of permits for new construction on existing vacant land and land created by a subdivision. This would remain in effect as long as the IDC is in effect, til December 6. All subdivision requests in Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout would continue to be reviewed by the Planning Commission through the end of this year.

- November 28 the City held a "Draft Subdivision Rules and Regulations Review and Information Session" to learn how the new Subdivision Rules and Regulations would impact lot splits in each neighborhood. Members of all Cincinnati community councils were invited, however only members of the Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout councils attended.

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